PMG Digital Made for Humans

Using Social to Build Buzz

4 MINUTE READ | August 29, 2018

Using Social to Build Buzz

Author's headshot

Katie Friedman

Katie Friedman has written this article. More details coming soon.

It started with Radiohead in 2016. Their fanbase was shocked when they began to wipe all content off of their social media pages — to announce the release of their ninth album A Moon Shaped Pool. Deleting their content and the subsequent online gossip that followed led to an increase in over 300k followers over the next month for the band. The album itself eventually reached number one in the UK and reached number three on the Billboard 200.

Sourced via LinkedIn.

In 2017, Taylor Swift cleared her entire Instagram to date to begin teasing the launch of what was soon to be known as her reputation era. Taylor is a large enough star that national publications covered this mystery and fueled the rumor mill for weeks. Not only did she delete her posts, but she also unfollowed everyone and blocked her official website.

Radiohead started the trend that Taylor Swift and other brands are trying now called: ‘clearing the channel.’ When Taylor started to post again, it was with cryptic snake videos. The less she explained, the more articles were written, and the more frenzy followed. Taylor’s social media strategy built up a new type of hype rather than a standard album drop — she broke her own and superstore Target’s previously held record for highest number of pre-sales and ended up being 2017’s biggest album drop of the year.

Since then other celebrities (including Miley Cyrus whose channel, as of post time, is still dark) have used this technique for various reasons. Such drastic actions can lead to completely organically produced viral moments — all without spending a dime on additional creative resources. Blake Lively recently took a two-pronged approach to her announcement: she cleared her channel and then followed only Instagram users named “Emily Nelson.” A few days later, she released the trailer for her upcoming movie A Simple Favor where her character’s name is, of course, Emily Nelson.

Celebrities are intensely scrutinized by their fans. They communicate through not just the words on their social media channels but by their actions. Fans and media outlets often know if a celebrity couple has broken up before any official statement has been released because of changes in follow status or if one half of the relationship doesn’t like as many posts of the other as they used to.

As a platform, Instagram realized that brands want to be able to take advantage of this type of roll out. They released a new feature last year called ‘archiving‘ that lets a person hide posts from everyone but the relief of keeping every post safe on the back end. And it’s not just celebrities who are making the dramatic social moves anymore. Most recently, Whole Foods cleared their Instagram account and began following only a few people: Beyonce, Sting, and Cardi B. They had organic pick up across other platforms with conspiracy theorists abound.

It all led to getting buzz started up about their new partnership with their own nonprofit to raise $100,000 for beehives (Beyonce, Sting – get it?) installed in schools across the country.

Celebrities often drive new social media trends and their advantage is having a GenZ audience that’s learned to read and analyze their every move, whether it’s a follow or an unfollow or a like on this or that post. It behooves brands to watch and take notes on how the GenZ audience uses social media to communicate. In this case, Instagram itself has seen how users want to use their platform and have made adjustments to make it even easier for brands to leverage.

Stay in touch

Bringing news to you

Subscribe to our newsletter

By clicking and subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

If your business wants to make a statement but keep historical creative intact on any platform, consider paring down and shaping your message in who you follow the way Whole Foods did. Or you could archive content that does not follow a very specific color palette or theme to keep creative cohesive. Because Instagram is so visual, there are a ton of innovative ways a brand can craft their image, excite their fans, or entice new ones to follow.

Related Content

thumbnail image

Campaigns & Client WorkSocial MediaPlatforms & MediaCompany NewsStrategy

PMG and Beats by Dre Win Award for TikTok Campaign

2 MINUTES READ | October 29, 2021

thumbnail image

Consumer TrendsSocial MediaPlatforms & Media

Introducing the Social Audio Wars

6 MINUTES READ | April 27, 2021

thumbnail image

StrategyCreative DesignB2B MarketingPlatforms & MediaDigital Marketing

How Brands Can Stand Out With User-Generated Content

1 MINUTE READ | November 12, 2020

thumbnail image

Consumer TrendsSocial MediaStrategyPlatforms & Media

What to Know About Reddit

5 MINUTES READ | October 1, 2020

thumbnail image

What to Expect During Big Tech’s Big Week

5 MINUTES READ | July 27, 2020

thumbnail image

Understanding the Genius Bar Index

4 MINUTES READ | July 13, 2020

thumbnail image

How the Facebook Boycott (Most Likely) Ends

7 MINUTES READ | June 29, 2020

thumbnail image

Will UGC Be the Norm in a PostCOVID World?

6 MINUTES READ | June 26, 2020